Your FIRST look at my new kitchen in Canadian Living Magazine.

The last time I was this excited over something it was covered in gravy.

Here’s your first glimpse of me in my new kitchen.



The October issue of Canadian Living magazine is on stands now!  And if it’s not where you are in Canada it will be in the next day or two.  I know.  It’s September.  Early September at that.  But that’s the way magazine work and since it gives  us all a chance to see my kitchen in print a month earlier than I thought I’m O.K. with it.

And yes.  That is my dear little Cuddles sharing the spotlight with me.  When Cuddles came close to dying a few weeks ago I thought … I won’t even be able to open the magazine.  It would be too much to bear.  But that little Cuddles made it through her mystery illness and lived to see her magazine debut.

To recap:

In March of 2013 I decided to rip up my horrific kitchen floor and install VCT tiles.  Black and white check.  While the floor was up, I decided it would be stupid not to install heated floors while I was at it.  With such a good lookin’ floor I was suddenly embarrassed about my sink.  Why had I never noticed the horror that was my sink?  I should get a new sink.  That one from Ikea with the apron front.

Only the sink didn’t fit because my counters weren’t deep enough.  I could maybe get new counters to accommodate the new sink so as not to embarrass my floors.  Floors are very sensitive that way.  Everyone knows that.

Cut to a year later, my entire kitchen is ripped out, a new ceiling is going in, cupboards are being hoisted over fences, the fella has left and I’m pooping in a bucket.


How did THIS happen?

I’ll tell you how it happened.  I’m like you, you’re like me, we’re all nuts.  And that’s O.K.  That’s how it goes in this world and the people who aren’t nuts are boring.

I lived through a kitchen renovation and even though people told me I was going to forget all about how gross it was once I had my new kitchen I didn’t believe them. In fact I pretty much silently cursed those people until I started cursing them out loud.  With big, new curse words that only a kitchen renovation can pull out of you.  But they were right.  I don’t remember any of the pain and every time I walk into my kitchen I still gasp and sigh and smile.  Then I cook something and leave the dishes to clean up in a week or so.

When I realized this tiny little kitchen update was actually going to turn into a  full blown renovation I emailed someone I knew at Canadian Living.  Brett Walther was someone who I worked with when a different magazine shot my house a few years ago. I told him what I was doing and asked if he’d be interested in featuring it in the magazine.

He said yes. I said good. He told me I couldn’t show my kitchen until it was released in the magazine, I said bad.  But agreed, because I could understand his point.  Canadian Living wanted the big reveal to be in their magazine.  Who could blame them.  The only problem was I couldn’t take any pictures, or do any posts or videos that revealed my kitchen for a year.  A YEAR.

That year is up. I still can’t show you my kitchen but I CAN soon because the Canadian Living article is out now.  


  1. Ramona says:

    Congratulations, Karen!!! So proud of you & all of your hard work! I am thrilled to hear Cuddles is all better.
    You girls look fantastic on the cover! I can’t wait to see the rest of your kitchen. Four corners and a cover just aren’t cutting it! I guess I’ll have to wait until you post pictures, unless you want to send me a magazine because I LOVE me some gravy! Poutine? Oh, orgasm!!! Ah, feel like I need a cigarette, now…

  2. Karen says:

    In fact I do like gravy. Fried chicken and gravy on mashed potatoes. Sorry Cuddles. You do like spectacular in that dress. You Karen, not you Cuddles. Although Cuddles does look cute in her feathers.

  3. Cathy says:

    Love Thanksgiving gravy—pretty much the only time I make it. Don’t have a witty/folksy/warm huuggy story about it, but my birthday is in October, and the magazine wouldn’t look out of place at all in my Midwestern living room. (You thought I was going to say bathroom now, didn’t you..)
    Congrats on the feature. Nice to see your hard work rewarded.

  4. Liz says:

    Please send me a copy of Canadian Living. I live in Minnesota, but I was dropping my son off at university in Winnipeg last weekend, and had I known, I would have picked up a copy. BTW, I like making gravy from roasted turkey drippings. And lastly, that’s a darling dress you’re wearing in the photo, impeccably accessorized with Cuddles.

  5. Trish says:

    I like gravy.

    And I am a child of the ’70s. I had four older brothers who refused to play with me, but for whom I, nevertheless, created make-believe names. There was Keith (named after the cute boy on the Partridge Family), Crush (named after my favorite drink, Orange Crush), Teeth (possibly named after a Muppets character, but I honestly don’t recall) and Gravy (of course – named after my favorite food).

  6. Wendi Miller says:

    I LOVE gravy!

    Oh, and I really dig that super hot chick holding the chicken in the midst of a GORGEOUS kitchen 😉

  7. I like veggie gravy; like mushroom or something like that, since I don’t eat meat. It’s good on potatoes though! I also really like your counters and can’t wait to see more!!

  8. Estee says:

    Cuddles totally makes the picture! Unbelievable that you did all that with the kitchen, you are such a bad-buttocks lady AND you look lovely in a dress! That’s what I love about you! You’re a perfect example that a lady can look pretty, be funny and fix stuff!

  9. Angela says:

    PLEASE PICK ME!!! Also, I do not like gravy, but I DO have a gravy story. My husband was deployed for our first Thanksgiving together, but on our second Thanksgiving, we had a few people from his office over, plus my parents, sisters, and my sister’s then-boyfriend, now-husband. I wanted everything to be just perfect, but didn’t own a gravy boat. Because I don’t like gravy. So I went to a store in town and found a glass bowl made for salad dressing, it came with a cute little spoon and everything! So we figured out how to make the gravy, using the packet of mix and the fat from the turkey (p.s. I make my husband take care of the turkey because my family has chicken for Thanksgiving and I’ve never actually cooked a turkey myself). Then we poured the gravy into the bowl… and realized that the glass wasn’t tempered when it cracked.

    We ended up serving the gravy from a regular old bowl, and I learned (not for the first time and not for the last) to not be so damn uppity. My best is more than good enough, without adding a new glass bowl in the mix!

  10. Dede says:

    Gravy, it’s the best wrinkle reducer ever. I think it’s because it fills my cubby face with fat. Ummm… gravey.
    Oh right. You and Cuddles are cute. Do I win now?

  11. DLRose says:

    Best gravy ever made by best brother-in-law ever, Danny Higgins. Thank goodness he learned how from his momma.(and TG my sister kept him!) Love your kitchen peeks!

  12. Jj says:

    Gravystory: I spent my first two years as a flight attendant flying down south just to find the best biscuits…that my pilots started introducing me as …your flight attendant today is “Biscuits” I make a killer gravy. True story..

  13. Pam'a says:

    My mother wasn’t much of a cook. She did, however, excel at making hamburger gravy and frozen lime dacquiris when she wasn’t on the golf course or pounding out “Malaguena” on the baby grand.

    But I digress. In high school, my best friend Roxanne and I were fed up with our respective lots in life and, with our parents’ permission, decided to trade houses for two weeks. Roxanne’s main reason for wanting to trade was so she could eat herself sick on Mom’s hamburger gravy, served over elegant piles of ripped up white bread. As for me? Her mom made potatoes every night. Mine never did. Truly, the grass is always greener…

    You and Cuddles look great– I’d love to get a copy of the magazine. (I really don’t want to ride to your house on my bike again like I did in that crazy dream so I can read it.)

  14. Laura says:

    I don’t eat a whole lot of gravy but I do have a bargaining (potato) chip: if I win, I’ll do an in-kitchen performance for you and your friends.

    Boom shacka lacka.

    (It looks lovely, you and Cuddles look perfect, and I’m happy for you!)

  15. Teresa J says:

    Hey Karen, my favorite is KFC gravy. Gotta get the gravy when you go to KFC – no offense to Cuddles and her rellies. So glad she is feeling better and therefore so are you!!! August sure is a really tough month for you these past few years, kiddo, feel for you! Would love a copy of the mag so I can show all my friends since I rave about you and your blog all the time!

  16. Sue H. says:

    I love gravy!

  17. Tash @ The Dreamhouse Project says:

    I love gravy…especially when it’s accompanied by french fries and cheese curds (cause I’m Canadian like that). Oh – and the slightest bit of ketchup. Yum…The other day hubs and I were at South St. Burger and as I was polishing off the last french fry and peering longingly into my half empty gravy cup, I may or may not have asked him if he’d look down on me if I drank the rest of the gravy. I’m a little ashamed…but not really. LOL!

    You look absolutely FAB in the magazine feature by the way. Can’t wait to finally get to see the kitchen in print. 🙂

  18. Susan Robinson says:

    Not a gravy lover. However, you and Cuddles are gorgeous and your kitchen looks amazing!

  19. Laura Bee says:

    Fabulous photo ~ you’re going to get calls about Cuddles for modeling gigs.
    I truly love gravy, but don’t enter me in the draw – I am going out to buy the magazine tomorrow!
    My almost 4 year old daughter loves poutine & perogies & hopefully purple potatoes. (if they are actually under the soil in our back yard. Almost ready to dig I think)
    omg – purple potato poutine.

  20. PoMo Mom says:

    CAN WE TALK ABOUT THE DRESS??!! You and Cuddles look fabulous! Oh ya gravy, yum yum, blah blah, but That. Dress. I have kitchen envy too – cant wait to see more pictures. Wish I had a moment to sit and read a magazine, in peace, without kids, in a clean kitchen. 🙂 definite kitchen porn.

  21. Stephanie Hobson says:

    Your first sentence had me going for a minute there. lol As to gravy, yes I do like it. My mom’s gravy was great, but she was one of those cooks who never measures anything. It took me years to figure out how to make decent gravy. Guess how?

    I read it in a cookbook! Who woulda thought?

  22. Khadija says:

    LOL! I love gravy. Grew up eating it on sliced bread as a kid. Yum.

    Congratulations on the spread. I would love to see this magazine.

  23. Tracie says:

    I love gravy, love it. I make pretty great gravy, too. I have a friend who makes ham gravy, and I have to admit, I never thought of making gravy out of ham before. It’s pretty tasty. Anyway. What a great cover! You and Cuddles are looking quite glamorous… Astonishing how many changes have come your way in this past year….Some of it couldn’t have been easy, but I want to thank you for carrying on with your posts. For continuing to inspire us, so maybe we start to believe we can do stuff too. 🙂

  24. Edith says:

    Hi Karen,

    I’m so darn happy for you! It’s been a challenging year and a half for you but you all got through it…healthy and “in style”. Your kitchen looks beautiful and so do you two chicks on the cover!

    Roast without gravy is like Karen without Cuddles.

  25. SeaDee says:

    Love the kitchen (from what I can see), and your hair, dress, Cuddles and gra-vy!

    See what I did there? I’m hanging in Phoenix. The heat has melted my brain.

  26. Lea G says:

    I love gravy and your new kitchen, it must be a great feeling to know that YOU did it all!! So glad to know that Cuddles is doing well and your dress is awesome!! Congratulations on the magazine cover!! 🙂 I enjoy your blog and writing style….. just plain fun, thanks.

  27. meagan molenda says:

    My husband’s sister invented the term “alcogravyhol” after we had the best gravy ever one Thanksgiving. The gravy had alcohol in it, of course. It’s been served every Thanksgiving since. 🙂

  28. Cynna says:

    Love gravy–especially with mushrooms, but never that chemical mystery junk from a can. Ever. Very cute dress, which nicely complements Cuddles’ caramel colored coat. I would love to see the kitchen–the entire kitchen. Nice press!

  29. Michelle says:

    I do like gravy, but Thanksgiving is really the only time I have it. Mostly because I’m trying to drastically reduce the stuff I put the gravy on, from my diet. I can’t wait to see the rest of your kitchen, and I’m so happy to hear that Cuddles is better, I’ve been cheering from afar! And love your dress btw!

  30. Cynthia says:

    Your long slender swan-like neck rocks the large high collared style of your dress. Love the simple classic print of it as well. I can’t see your shoes.

    Did you shave your legs ‘n all?

    I agree Cuddles would rock a set of pearls.

    I want your sink. I have where you got it from bookmarked. I have always wanted a butler sink and this is the closest I have seen.

    Is there any link to photos of your bathroom? Or is that next year’s project?

  31. Linda S. in NE says:

    That’s a cute idea in the comment above about having you and Cuddles autograph the winning magazine copies. Of course only if you can find a non-toxic paint or ink for Cuddles to stamp with. Lord knows the poor girl has had enough trauma lately. And that magazine, Oh.My.Goodness.Gracious. What a knock-out you two are!! I knew about the upcoming magazine feature, but did not know you scored a cover as well! Kudo’s to you, Karen. So Cute! And gravy? Meh. Sometimes yes please, and sometimes no thank you. I guess I really like the taste of the mashed potatoes and roast beef on their own.

  32. Jcorn says:

    Love gravy. Gravy is the new bacon.

  33. Rosey says:

    Ooo! Ooo! I hope I win!
    I do like gravy. I knew a friend who when he was a child, crawled to the kitchen, reached out and sighed, “graaavy!” As an adult he was grossly obese. I hope it wasn’t the gravy that did him in.

  34. Kalani Allred says:

    Gravy is groovy, but butter is better. And you & Cuddles look absolutely smashing sitting there all proper-like in your new kitchen! Can’t wait to see it all (the kitchen, that is…). Send one of your magazines to me in California and I will be your biggest fan forever! Seriously, you are amazing and I love your blog. Seriously. 🙂

  35. Laurinda says:

    You look fab, Cuddles looks cuddly, & your kitchen looks great!
    Growing up, my mother, a horrible cook, used to make terrible gravy. She would sometimes make something she called “Cream, Peas & Tuna Fish”, which was peas & tuna mixed in to a delicious white gravy. So I grew up hating gravy & never learning to make it! But I love white gravy & I still get cravings for that gross sounding Cream, Peas & Tuna. On toast.

  36. Amber says:

    Karen, you have turned into the Canadian-Jenna-from-30-Rock. And they had a Canadian!! In season 4!!! Gravy??? I’m going to send you pictures of brussel spouts. In gravy.
    (I just want pics of the new kitchen)
    (love to Cuddles)

    • Karen says:

      I am?! How did I become her? I don’t remember becoming her at ALL! I’m probably drunk. And I remember the Canadian from 30 Rock! 🙂 ~ karen

  37. Pati Gulat says:

    At the 1969 Texas International Pop Festival Wavy Gravy was lying onstage, exhausted, when it was announced that B.B. King was going to play. He began to get up; a hand appeared on his shoulder. It was B.B. King, who asked, “Are you Wavy Gravy?” to which he replied “Yes.” “It’s OK; I can work around you,” said B.B. King, and he and Johnny Winter proceeded to jam for hours after that. He said he considered this a mystical event, and assumed Wavy Gravy as his legal name.

    And there’s my Gravy story… 😉

  38. Jen Renda says:

    Okay, what gravy are we talking about here?

    Red Gravy is a thick tomato sauce that my in-laws use on some pasta dishes but not all. I am still new enough to the family to be forgiven for the transgression of mixing up the two. I think the gravy is what one cooks home-made meatballs in.

    I grew up stirring the brown gravy that magically appeared from the powder growing up. Dad would add drippings into it to add additional flavor. (Oh my, I hope that was not a family secret that was suppose to be passed down. However I refuse to reveal the specific brand of said magical pack of goodness!) For some reason, even my Nana made gravy this well. Mind you she was a trained cook. (Her terms not mine, but she was from Norway and may be they had another level of between cook and chef in Norwegian.) I would stir and stir to ensure that the lumps were gone. Anyway, if the dripping where not added to, we would toss the gravy in the slow cooker with a roast to cook till tender. (Great, it’s 1AM and I wanna make a pot roast!)

    Then there is White gravy that when I am in the South, I eat on chicken-friend steak. Not to be confused with the white sausage gravy I eat on my biscuits. I found a packet of powder once in my Northeastern Supermarket. But something was off about this. I think because I associate that gravy so close with travel that making it in my kitchen (which oddly enough, was my Nana’s kitchen) felt wrong.

    Those are the gravies of my life.

    I love your dress, and your chickens, and prayed very hard for a chicken I have never met this pass week. How are the chicks doing? Have we found out the genders yet?

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Jen! You’re very well versed in your gravies. I like that. I’m pretty sure I have 3 roosters and one hen on my hands. 🙁 ~ karen!

  39. Kim from Washington state says:

    I used to hate gravy growing up, something about the way it ran across my plate and touched my other food.. I know, I had issues. But these days I love it, the more gravy the better ( obviously cured those issues). And to mention cuddles, all I can picture is her holding a little sign that says “eat more beef!” Can’t wait to see the full kitchen remodel, feel free to come down to the states and help me with mine!!

  40. Jeanette says:

    no-one has mentioned my idea of heaven – roast beef with gravy! Yorkshire pudding with roast beef gravy!

    my gravy story – did you know that in Yorkshire, the puddings are served *before* the meat course, with the gravy? An old “peasant” trick used in many countries to fill you up, thus using less of the much more costly meat portion of the meal.

    And should my name surface in your draw, please give my magazine to #11, because I live in Canada and get a copy no problem, and get it most months. Their recipes are wonderful, and if you are ever looking for a gingerbread house story, I’ve got one!

  41. Kristy says:

    I’m from the south. I love gravy.
    The first time I ever made venison sausage and gravy, I ruined the whole pot using Kitchen Bouquet. A little tiny bit goes a very long way. Wish someone would’ve told me that before I poured it! It was vile!

    • Karen says:

      Hmm. You may have ruined the venison sausage by adding venison. Hah! (I never grew to love venison) ~ karen!

  42. Lindsay H says:

    I love gray. Especially the Tabasco white gravy from Serious Biscuits in Seattle. They were kind enough to give me the recipe and now I make biscuits and gravy every weekend.

  43. Chana says:

    Oh Yeah! How could I not compliment you and your birdie! You DO look fabulous! I think it was very sweet that they had her in the photo. She really is a gorgeous chicken and wow she IS a cuddle loaf. Mozel Tov on your published success on kitchen reno. I just moved into an OLD house and I feel your pain! I do NOT see the light at the end of the tunnel I hate cooking here and dammit when I am done I better get into a magazine too. LOL!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Chana! ~ karen! p.s. Kosher! That’s reason for celebration. TWO sets of dishes!! I have a thing for dishes.

  44. dana says:

    Love your cabinets. Love your handles. Not your love handles. Do you even have love handles? The black on the windows is really slick looking. Whats that curtain made from? Rough linen or burlap? You look gorgeous and so does Cuddles. My sister had her house photographed for Country Home years ago and she told me what a mess it was. They moved things around and generally made a mess of her house.

    • Karen says:

      The roman shade is made with the one and only Rough Linen! There really was no mess with Country Living coming. One of Brett’s (the editor) philosophies is to leave things as they really are. 🙂 ~ karen!

  45. Lynne says:

    Holy crap – 49 comments and it’s only 12:52 AM !!! I’m not a huge gravy person (sorry) but I did love my mother-in-laws gravy and yes it’s always better when someone else makes it for you. Love the photo and am really glad Cuddles made the pic. Go Cuddles !!

  46. Vicki says:

    I do not like gravy. I have never liked gravy. When I was a kid, it was always served with mashed potatoes. I HATED mashed potatoes, so I never ate them, and due to the mashed potato association, I somehow decided that gravy was also made of potatoes which would make it grainy and gross. Of course I never ate it.

    Now I am older and wiser, and know this is not true… but part of my tiny child brain still believes it. So I have not tried gravy to this day, and I continue to loathe mashed potatoes.

  47. Kathy W says:

    I like gravy, your kitchen, your dress,, cuddles and I want a free magazine, please.

  48. Jane says:

    Yes, I love all kinds of gravy….homemade kind preferably….and I have to say I make delicious gravy, but I don’t do it much anymore. Too lazy I guess. I would love a copy of the magazine to see your kitchen. But for those of us who aren’t lucky, hope you can share pics soon! You and Cuddles look so cute! Happy she is doing well. I really like white chicken gravy best, but I wouldn’t want Cuddles to know that:)

  49. Emily says:

    I love gravy! Can’t wait to see your kitchen 🙂

  50. Barbara H. says:

    Love gravy but since it’s just me, I don’t get to eat it too often. Probably all for the best, however, since aging seems to have added pounds every year. I’m so glad Cuddles has recovered in time for her print debut and would love a copy of the magazine. It’s been a long year of waiting to see your new kitchen.

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